A fugitive state senator, the leader of his party, suggests meeting with the governor in a cave somewhere in the no man's land of the border country.
Is that beyond parody?
How will we know this "Mark Miller," if that is his real name? Will this legislative scofflaw be disguised? Will he show himself or will he hide behind a rock, six-guns at the ready?
And what about his gang, the Gang of 14? Will they put up a ruckus? If Lena Taylor is among them, you know it will be noisy. The other 13 may give her up just for some peace and quiet.
I say, take this "Miller" up on his offer.
Shine the TV lights on his cave. Deploy the black helicopters. Mobilize the Illinois tea partiers as your posse.
Give me the bullhorn. "Miller, are you in there? We've got you surrounded."
Throw a bag of union cash just short of the cave entrance. When one of them leaves the hideout to scoop up the loot, cite Article IV Section 7 of the State Constitution, lasso the runaway, take him into custody and pass the bill!
If a minority can frustrate democratic elections by running away, the majority can satisfy the will of the people by rounding them up like the strays they are.
Keep movin', movin' movin' though there's disapprovin'.
Keep them doggies movin', Rawhide!
'Labor peace is expensive'
At least Council President Mark Clear admits it.
In my last blogge, I noted that the Madison Common Council rushed to give its 3,500 unionized workers sweetheart contracts for the next three years with yearly pay raises and NO givebacks on fringe benefits. It did so literally arm-in-arm with its politically powerful unions in a hastily called meeting well away from the normal council chambers. It did so because Mayor Dave Cieslewicz finds himself locked in a tight race for re-election barely a month out from the Spring election and he needs the union campaign cash, phone banking, lit droppers, and street muscle.
As a result, the city finds itself in an $8.5 million hole under the proposed state budget, which reduces state shared revenue and other aids to the city by $11 million. I asked all 20 alders to explain. This is Ald. Clear's response [with my comments in brackets]:
Given the new levy limits, you're not going to see a significant property tax increase in 2012. What you will see is significant cuts in programs and services. What would you cut? [Answer from Blaska's Blog: employee compensation, Mark.] Are you willing to accept a drop in your property value due to the decreased desirability of our community? [You made this bed, Mr. Council President.]
The contracts that the council ratified on 2/17 simply codified what had already been negotiated in good faith. [Brakes don't work? Cliff approaching? Step on the gas! We're not altering our route now.] Some unions were already ratified and some were not. It was important to get everybody on the same playing field. The negotiated increases came on the heels of no increases in 2009 and 2010. That's one of the reasons the contracts were supported unanimously by the council. (Except for your Alder, who was a no-show.)
Labor peace is expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than the alternative. Ask the baseball commissioner (or the NFL commissioner for that matter). The success of an organization, private or public, is directly correlated to the satisfaction level of its workforce. [AND the ability of the ticket buyers to pay!]
If I get Council President Clear right, the city took an $11 million hit on shared revenue but could not go back to the two unions with whom it had already settled and ask for concessions? It had to plow ahead, march in solidarity with the union bosses to a special council meeting to rush through the pay raises?
Compromise? What compromise?
Will Justice be served?
A few days ago I reported the unionized Madison teacher who used school e-mail to further a boycott of 154 Wisconsin businesses that support Gov. Walker.
Received this response Monday from school district spokesman Ken Syke:
I've forwarded your email to our Human Resources staff, who are investigating and will make a determination about consequences for the staff member. Use of school district email for this kind of content/action is - at a minimum - inappropriate.
Thanks for forwarding it to us.
The president of the Oshkosh teachers union has been disciplined for using district e-mail to encourage others to call in sick to miss work so they could join protests in the state capital, even though the superintendent said he doesn't approve.
School officials on Friday also told The Northwestern that staff members who joined the protests against Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill on Feb. 17 and 18 will not receive any sick leave pay and will have to reimburse the district the cost of a substitute teacher.
Jumping the shark
You know your movement has just jumped the shark when publicity tapeworms like Jesse Jackson and Michael Moore attach themselves to it. The Althouse has it:
I wonder if the teachers and other Wisconsin union members who got the protest started three weeks ago appreciate having Michael Moore absorb their issue - maintaining the quality of professional public employment in Wisconsin - into his larger anti-capitalist agenda for America.
This is a problem with extending the protests. The crowd changes, new infusions of energy come from outsiders who see a ready-made platform to climb up on. These old-school, left-wing attacks on corporations have little to do with the distinct problems of jobs in the public sector - where, management is the government of the state and its citizens.
No volunteers allowed
A Wausau public employee union filed a grievance to prohibit a local volunteer from serving as a school crossing guard. The 86-year-old lives just two blocks away and serves everyday free of charge.
"He said, you know, this gives me a reason to get up in the morning to come and help these kids in the neighborhood," according to the school principal.
But for a local union that represents crossing guards, it isn't that simple. Representatives didn't want to go on camera but say if a crossing guard is needed, then one should be officially hired by the city. -- WAOW-TV, 1/27/10
The photo accompanying this blogge says it all. The public sector unionists displayed scores of the "No concessions" signs, professionally printed, Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center.
Top 10 ways to tell if you might be in a public sector union:
10) You take a week off to protest in Wisconsin and your office runs better.
9) On a snow day when they say "non-essential" people should stay home you know who they mean.
8) You get paid twice as much as a private sector person doing the same job but make up the difference by doing half as much work.
7) It takes longer to fire you than the average killer spends on death row.
6) The worse you do your job, the more your boss avoids you.
5) You think the French are working themselves to death.
4) You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe.
3) You spend more time at protest marches than at church.
2) You have a Democratic congressman's lips permanently attached to your butt.
1) You pay more in union dues than you do for your health care insurance.